Manchester Arena Inquiry: Victim's "pen portraits" heard in court

09092020 - 22 people were killed in the Manchester Arena attack on May 22, 2017 - ITV News
The Manchester Arena Inquiry will be hearing commemorative statements from the victim's families for two weeks. Credit: Family Photos

The Manchester Arena Inquiry has been heard 'pen portraits' from the families of the 22 people who were killed in the attack in May 2017.

Each family will give commemorative statements, painting a picture of the victim's life and how the loss of them has affected their loved ones.

Martyn Hett

Martyn Hett, 29, was from Stockport and a social media manager. Credit: Family Photo

Martyn was a self-confessed Coronation Street superfan and was a "Deirdre Barlow enthusiast" and was he known for getting a tattoo of the character on his leg on the Channel 4 programme "Tattoo Fixers".

His father Paul said that Martyn's life was so vibrant, so full of energy he would need hours to describe him and still only scratch the surface.

"Martyn touched so many people in his short life and his memory will shine bright forever."

Read Martyn's full pen portrait here.

Eilidh MacLeod

Eilidh MacLeod, 14, from Barra was a keen musician and a bagpipe player. Credit: Family Photo

Eilidh MacLeod has been remembered by her family in a "beautiful and fitting" tribute at the Manchester Arena inquiry.

A 30-minute video was shown to Manchester Magistrates Court and featured tributes from Eilidh's parents, sisters, aunties, cousin, former teachers and friends.

Her mum Marion said: "Our whole world’s been shattered into pieces, I love her, we always have and we always will. We miss her, always."

Read Eilidh's full pen portrait here.

John Atkinson

John Atkinson, 28, from Bury, worked with young adults with autism. Credit: Family photo

The inquiry was told how John was the "heart and soul" of his family and that his death has left a "huge void".

John's family also spoke of how he loved his job working with young adults with autism and behavioural difficulties, his parents' statement also said how John was extremely clever with a Mensa IQ of 137 at just eight years old.

John's parents said: "He was the centre of our world. We miss him so much, his laugh, his humour, his personality, his love for his family ... we will miss everything about him."

Read John's full pen portrait here.

Sorrell Leczkowski

Sorrell Leczkowski, 14, from Leeds, wanted to become an architect when she grew up. Credit: Family Photo

Sorrell was described to the inquiry as being a creative girl who loved school and was hungry for knowledge.

Her mother, Samantha, and Nana, Pauline, were both seriously injured in the attack when they came to pick up her and her sister from the concert.

Her mum said: "I find it incredibly difficult taking about Sorrell in the past tense. I want nothing more than to have her back."

Read Sorrell's full pen portrait here.

Megan Hurley

Megan was 15, from Liverpool, she loved animals and photography. Credit: Family Photo

Megan, from Halewood in Liverpool, was 15 when she was killed in the bombing as she left an Ariana Grande concert.

She was described by her parents, Michael and Joanne as someone with a kind, caring and friendly nature, who loved animals, running and photography.

"Megan was maturing into a beautiful young lady, who was living her life to the fullest," her parents said.

Read Megan's full portrait here.

Courtney Boyle

Courtney Boyle, from Gateshead, was 19 when she died. She was studying to be a criminologist. Credit: Family Photo

Courtney, who was 19 when she was killed in the bombing, was from Gateshead and was picking up her sister from the Ariana Grande concert with her mum's partner Phillip Tron, who was also killed in the explosion.

Courtney's mam, Deborah Hutchinson, spoke in Manchester Magistrates Court before statements from other member's of Courtney's family were read by the family's legal representatives.

She said: "Courtney never hurt anyone, she had a beautiful heart and always put others first."

Read Courtney's full portrait here.

Kelly Brewster

Kelly Brewster, 32 from Sheffield, was planning to start a family when she died. Credit: Family Photo

Kelly was 32 when she was killed, she was from Sheffield and worked as an insurance claims assessor for Arriva, who called her their very own "pocket rocket".

Kelly's mum Kim is said to be in "constant pain", whilst her father Kevin has suffered a heart attack and stroke since the bombing and that he travels to Manchester Victoria regularly, as it is where he feels closest to his daughter.

Kelly's family said in the statement heard in court: "We have been robbed of Kelly's future in the cruellest and most barbaric way."

Read Kelly's full portrait here.

Angelika and Marcin Klis

Marcin and Angelika Klis, 42 and 39, were originally from Poland but moved to York in 2007. Credit: Family Photo

The couple, who were from Poland but had lived in York since 2007, were waiting in the foyer of the Manchester Arena waiting to pick up their daughters when they were killed.

Angelika worked as a customer services assistant for Tesco, whilst Marcin worked as a taxi driver in York.

Their daughters, Alex and Patricia, said: "Mum and Dad were amazing parents, great friends, and kind people, they did everything in their power to ensure we had everything we wanted and more." 

Read Angelika and Marcin's full portrait here.

Lisa Lees

Lisa Lees, 43, from Oldham, was a beauty therapist and the mother of two girls: Lauren and India. Credit: Family Photo

Lisa was waiting for her daughter in the foyer of the arena after the Ariana Grande concert with her friend Alison Howe, they were both killed in the attack.

Her family said that although Lisa had no official middle name, she adopted the name Lisa Madonna as a tribute to her favourite artist.

She worked as a beauty therapist and set up an organisation to give terminally ill children holistic massages.

She was described as being "caring and beautiful, inside and out" by her husband and her mum said that she could "light up a room when she walked in".

Her husband Anthony said in a statement: "Lisa will be missed and always loved by anyone who had the pleasure of meeting such a wonderful, beautiful and caring person."

Read Lisa's full portrait here.

Georgina Callander

Georgina Callander, was 18 and from Chorley. She was due to go the Edge Hill University to study pediatric nursing. Credit: Family photo

A pre-recorded message from Georgina's mum, Lesley Callander, was shown in Manchester Magistrates Court as she cannot bear to come to Manchester since the attack.

Georgina, who was 18 when she died, was described as being "extremely caring with a loving soul" by her mum and the inquiry was told that she loved music, the marvel comic series, going to concerts and travelling to London with her mum to watch West End shows.

Her mum said: "I miss her infectious laughter every day and every night. Her personality grew from every corner and shone down, without a doubt, on everyone."

Her dad said: "Just a normal little girl, not a bad bone in her body. She gave so much love and had so much more to give."

Read Georgina's full portrait here.

Chloe Rutherford and Liam Curry

Chloe Rutherford, 17, and Liam Curry, 19, had "wanted to be together forever". Credit: Family Photo

Chloe and Liam, both from South Shields, had been a couple for almost three years when they were killed in the attack in May 2017 and their parents said they had "wanted to be together forever".

Caroline Curry and Mark Rutherford spoke at Manchester Magistrates Court as they delivered the emotional and heartfelt story of two young people who had planned their lives together.

Mark Rutherford said: "There was so much living still to be done, so much life and so much love to share, all the stories still to tell and all the dreams to be dreamt, they had so many plans and holidays to have."

Caroline Curry told the inquiry how Liam's dad had died just 8 weeks before he was killed.

Lisa Rutherford concluded the pen portrait by saying through tears: "Just for today, we have been sharing a love story. A story about two bairns who fell in love.

"Two beautiful young people with so much love in their hearts and so much hope for their lives together."

Read Chloe and Liam's full portrait here.

Philip Tron

Philip Tron, 32, from Gateshead, loved to work with his hands and meet new people his uncle said. Credit: Family Photo

Philip was at the arena with his partner's daughter, Courtney Boyle - they were waiting to pick up Courtney's sister Nicole when they were both killed in the explosion.

Ken Mullen, his uncle, described Philip as someone with a huge personality, who had a "huge heart" and a "good sense of humour".

He said that his nephew had been a joker; had loved football and Newcastle United and enjoyed socialising with his friends, but that he disliked having to be the person who got the round in.

He said that heaven now had a new "Geordie ambassador" who would be waiting to greet you as you entered.

Read Philip's full portrait here.

Nell Jones

Nell Jones, 14, from Holmes Chapel treated every day as an "adventure". Credit: Family Photo

Nell was from Holmes Chapel in Cheshire and was 14 when she was killed leaving the Ariana Grande concert at the Manchester Arena in May 2017.

She was described as being a kind and thoughtful person who enjoyed dancing, musical theatre and someone who would "protect her friends to the hilt".

She was also a member of the Knutsford Young Farmers and her family said that she loved to be around people and part of a group.

Sam Jones, Nell's brother, said: "As a family, we miss her so much. She lit up our days with her youthful energy and her passion for life. Every day was an adventure for Nell and we were all carried along with her."

Read Nell's full portrait here.

Michelle Kiss

Michelle Kiss, 45, from Whalley, was said to be a "devoted mother" who loved her children beyond measure. Credit: Family Photo

Michelle was described as being someone with a "beautiful smile that made her face light up" and as a devoted mother who "loved her children beyond measure".

Her husband's statement spoke of how Michelle went to Manchester Arena many times with their children and how sad it was that a place that brought so much joy to their family was the place that took it all away.

Her parents said in a statement: "On the night of the 22 May 2017 when we were told of the cowardly and evil act and that our precious and beautiful daughter had been taken from us our lives changed, our world fell apart."

Her husband also thanked the people of Manchester for restoring his faith in humanity by the way they came together following the attack.

Read Michelle's full portrait here.

Elaine McIver

Elaine McIver, 43, from Cheshire, was a detective constable with Cheshire Police. Credit: Family Photo

Elaine, who was 43 when she died, was a Cheshire Police officer but was off-duty when she was killed in the bombing.

Her sister Lynda told the inquiry that Elaine was a "very private person" and that her family, including parents Frank and Patricia, had initially chosen not to put a pen portrait together.

Lynda told the hearing that her sister "embraced life" and was "gusto and gung-ho" and would hate to be remembered as a victim.

Elaine's partner Paul said that Elaine had a "warm and friendly personality" and that they had just had an offer accepted on their dream home together when she was killed.

Read Elaine's full portrait here.

Saffie-Rose Roussos

Saffie-Rose Roussos was 8 when she died, she was described as being energetic and a keen gymnast. Credit: Family Photo

Saffie, who was only 8-years-old when she died, was described as being an energetic little girl who loved gymnastics, dancing and being around people.

Her father, Andrew, said that she was a "free spirit" who had so much charisma and confidence, whilst her mother, Lisa, said that she had a "magnetic personality" that drew people towards her.

Lisa Roussos paid tribute to her "clever, imaginative, bright and beautiful" little girl in an emotional video message.

She said: "To say our lives are truly devastated would be an understatement. Saffie completed our family and was a huge part of it - the lead role you might say, always taking centre stage with her huge smile."

Read Saffie's full portrait here.

Wendy Fawell

Wendy Fawell, 50, from West Yorkshire, was a manager at an after school club. Credit: Family Photo

Wendy, who was 50 when she died and from Otley in West Yorkshire, was at the Ariana Grande concert with her friend and their children.

She was described as being the "life and soul of the party" who loved to have people around her.

A statement prepared by her husband and children said: "She had so much to live for and she gave so much of herself, she was the one who could be relied on.

"How can anyone put into words the devastation of losing a loving daughter, mother and friend in such tragic insane circumstances? The loss is indescribable, we have never felt such grief."

Read Wendy's full portrait here.

Olivia Campbell-Hardy

Olivia Campbell-Hardy, was 15 and from Bury, she loved music, make-up and her bed. Credit: Family Photo

Olivia, was 15 when she died and from Bury, she was a pupil at Tottington High School and loved music.

Her mother, Charlotte Hodgson, said that Olivia - known as Ollie - had dreamed of becoming a singer on the West End and "had so much to give".

She said her daughter "put 100% into everything she did but she always did it with a smile on her face".

Olivia's father's statement spoke of how she would often sing at family gatherings, which made him very proud.

"Her death has left us all devastated and we have found it very hard to deal with life without her in it," he said.

Read Olivia's full portrait here.

Jane Tweddle

Jane Tweddle, 51, lived in Blackpool and had three daughters. Credit: Family Photo

Jane was 51 when she was killed in the bombing and worked as a receptionist at a secondary school in Blackpool.

Her three daughters: Isabelle, Harriet and Lily all paid tribute to their "warrior mum" saying that she taught them to be kind and to stick together.

She was described as being "familiar, friendly and full of life" and her daughters said that she was "made for her job" and was always there to listen to the problems of the children.

"There's nothing in this world we wouldn't give to hear your voice, see your smile or hold your hand for just one more minute," her daughters said.

Read Jane's full portrait here.

Alison Howe

Alison Howe, was 45 and from Oldham, she had six children and worked as a nurse. Credit: Family Photo

Alison, who was 45 when she died and from Royton, Oldham, was at the arena with her friend Lisa Lees to collect their daughters - they were both killed in the bombing.

Alison was described by her family and best friend Tracy Green as a talented musician who "adored" her family, she was working as a nurse when she died.

Her husband Steve said: "It's absolutely destroyed what we had in a mother and a wife, I don't think we're ever going to get over this properly."

Her mum, Sue, said that they would always be laughing and that you could never be sad or feel depressed when Alison was with you.

Read Alison's full portrait here.